Professional Athletes & Sudden Wealth: The NFL Financial Education Program

I recently wrote a column for CBS Moneywatch titled “Why Athletes Go Broke” that discuss seven common issues that impede good financial and investment decisions for professional athletes when trying to manage their sudden wealth.

The NFL Players Association is trying to educate their players and provide them with unbiased financial advice. At the helm of this initiative is Liz Davidson of Financial Finesse. Liz and her team design and deliver objective financial education programs for large organizations who want to help their employees and members become financially secure and independent. Here are her thoughts on the program and the new NFL Helpline:

There’s a whole other side of the story that most of us don’t hear about when it comes to how football players manage their money.  The NFL Players Association Financial Education Program has been successful because players are hungry for financial education and understand the importance of financial responsibility.  Like all of us, individually and collectively, players make good decisions and bad decisions.  However, when you consider all the obstacles they face– getting paid over 17 weeks, typically playing for just a few years, coming into money at a young age with relatively little financial education and receiving a steady stream of questionable pitches for investments or requests for money, they should be applauded for the steps they are taking.  Over 1200 players have used the Online Financial Learning Center we developed in partnership with the NFLPA, and 48% reported saving over 20% or more of their income, based on the results of an online lockout preparedness assessment.”

Davidson adds that when a football player successfully transitions from football with a significant nest egg and sound financial plan, it’s not an appealing news story, so all these instances of success simply gets drowned out among stories of extravagant spending, squandered fortunes and bankruptcies.  She doesn’t minimize the challenges, or deny the problems that do exist, but she feels strongly that the NFLPA is giving the players a strong base to build upon, and that with the continued growth of their financial education initiatives, players will continue to progress financially, noting that the game requires a high level of discipline, focus and intelligence– all traits that can be parlayed into smart money management.

 

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